Tuesday 10 December 2013

I have always thought of myself as an evangelical, and so did my first Bishop who sent me to a very High Anglican Church to experience the alternative side of Anglicanism. This was a new and at first disturbing experience as coming from a city like Liverpool, Catholic practices either Roman or Anglo were not the thing for a good Protestant.

During my service in Ministry| I have served at Churches of both Evangelical and Catholic persuasion, and have received greater recognition and been more received in those Churches which had a Higher form of liturgy; but I stress that I have always maintained a belief in the full authority of Scripture.

During the 1980s like many people with a love of the Bible, and a desire to see it preached faithfully, I was favourably impressed by Pope John Paul who appeared to be as evangelical as any other man. When he was succeeded by Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope, I felt here was a Church leader who had everything. A man ready to speak frankly, fearlessly, and positively; deeply evangelical, yet gracing with fine ceremonial, and ready to oppose all those who wished to see the Church adopt a soft line on moral issues, especially a tolerant attitude on sexual morality.

The Roman Church seemed to be in the ascendancy with these two men and fine Archbishops in Basil Hulme, Peter Smith, and Vincent Nichols, as against some of the indecisive Bishops in the Church of England. Now we are swinging back with the present Pope who would appear to be more of a public relations, headlines seeking person.

I am not impressed, as I suspect millions others are not, to read he likes to live in a small flat rather than at the Vatican palace; that he prefers to drive a clapped out old Renault rather then be driven in a luxury car; that he sneaks out in the night to hand money to the poor , etc etc etc. More especially that he is soft pedalling on traditional Catholic teaching.

What is most disturbing is to read newspaper adulation by the words he is the religious equivalent of Obama. That must terrify the faithful. The last thing the Christian world needs is a disaster.

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